Think about your favorite brands or iconic companies that stick out to you for a moment. What are some of the first things that come to mind? Maybe it’s their logo, tagline, brand colors, or brand message. Do you think of an advertisement or creative concept made famous by this brand? A jingle? Or maybe your first thought is your feelings toward the brand, whether it is positive or negative. Regardless of what came to mind, these are all things that make a brand who they are. Every piece is a foundation of their unique brand story.
Now, with your brand still in mind, try to imagine what they would look like without anything visual. No logos, colors, video, photography, graphics, typography, nothing! How does that image in your head change? Pretty drastically, right? Well, by simply walking through this exercise you’ve now discovered why visual design is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to marketing businesses.
Visual design is everywhere. It surrounds us daily, but often goes unnoticed. This seems backwards because visual design is obviously visual! Good design is invisible because it feels effortless and natural. Bad design is loud and it feels awkward, causes negative feelings. Bad design gets noticed because of these feelings! As designers, we are the gatekeepers of information and it is our job to provoke specific emotions and feelings through visual elements. For example, colors cause certain reactions and feelings, but we’ll get into that another time.
While other creative industries exist, visual design is very much in its infancy. Some may argue that visual design can be traced back to 15,000 BC when the first known visual communications arose, visual design as we know it today started in the early 20th century. The industry got its start through printing and trading books and has grown immensely since adapting to the digital era. Today, it’s really accessible to anyone who wants to take the time to learn it, whether that is through a degree or doing the work to learn independently.
However, the accessibility of visual design today has caused a bit of an identity crisis in the industry. With instant logo generators available online to any business owner, the value of working with a creative team might not be so obvious. Some of the first impressions you will form with your audience are made through the visuals you put out into the world. Wouldn’t you want those impressions to be meaningful? When a computer spits out a logo or graphic out at you, you’re missing out on owning a visual identity that is unique and customized, by a real human, to your brand.
Now go back and think about those famous brands. Real people are the makers behind those iconic advertisements or logos. Real people that are disciplined in the craft and have the knowledge to make intentional design decisions. These decisions ultimately benefit whatever the business is! When you work with a visual designer and/or creative team, you trust them to tell your unique brand story through visuals. That is exactly what we are trained to do.
Design is thinking made visual.
Source: Graphic Design Visionaries by Caroline Roberts